Is your Home Office as Private as you Think?
Should you use your home address for your business?
For most people using their home address to register their business is a convenient and cheap option, in particular if you’re at the start-up stage or operating as a sole-trader or freelancer…but is it a good idea?
There is no legal restriction on using your home address to register your business. Moreover, with the exception of some minor exceptions on the types of business activities (sale of some regulated items), it is perfectly legal and legitimate to register your home as your business address.
We certainly understand the financial need at start-up stage and for many sole-traders, to keep costs as low as possible, so working from a home-office is a necessity for so many businesses.
However, if you use your home address to register your business then your privacy, professionalism and your security can genuinely be at risk. This is because the location of your home will be publicly available for any member of the public, Government Agency or any prospective client to look up online.
What’s the worst that can happen if you use your home address to register your business?
A few unwanted consequences can happen if you use your home address for your business registration. Here are some examples:
1. Uninvited customers, creditors or even officials from the Revenue Commissioners could knock on your door unannounced. This will be very awkward and an invasion of your private space. Also creditors and customers will know where to find you any time day or night.
2. Linking to the above point; registering your business address to your home may also jeopardise the security of your family. Publicly listing your home business address means anyone can find out where you, or your family, live. Therefore, implicating their privacy and safety along with your own.
3. There is also the security risk, particularly if your business receives payments or if there might be valuable stock or merchandise lying around.
4. You might also loose business without even knowing about it. Potential customers may think twice about contacting you if you’re working from home as it can make your business appear small, temporary or worse a past-time you don’t take serious enough.
5. Having your home address listed as your business address may also suggest a lack of professionalism. As a result, you may struggle to instill trust in prospects, undermine Tenders that you are bidding on – as they can clearly see the business is in a home residential area.
Having your business address listed in a respected, town centre location is much more appealing to clients. It also adds another layer of credibility to your company as it will support client growth and help establish your brand.
6. If you rent your home then it’s very likely that your lease agreement will have a clause preventing the use of the property for business purposes. So you could find yourself in trouble if the landlord finds out. Alternatively, if you own your home, your home insurance might be invalidated if you use the property for business purposes. You also could become liable for Commercial Rates on your home if its deemed you are running a commercial business from the premises.
7. If you want to carry out a business in Ireland but your home address is in a different country then it will be impossible to register your business at your home address.
8. Registered post may not be received if you run a business from your home if it arrives while you are out at work and there is no one there to collect it. And besides if no one is home, do you really want potentially valuable business post being left there un-watched?
9. Tying in with the above point, having all your business and personal mail delivered to the same address can be overwhelming. As a homeowner, you already receive a lot more mail! But the volume of mail you receive will likely double (or triple) by listing your home address as your business address.
Yet, by using a virtual office as a registered business address, you can delegate your Mail Handling to our team!
10. We live in a world of Google Maps, Websites and Social Media – Any person who looks up your business will clearly see that your business does not have a proper office.
Use A Virtual Office Instead
Avoiding the pitfalls of using your home address is easier that you might think. You can purchase a virtual office address and use it for to register your business as well as on your website, social channels, business cards and invoices.
It’s safe, secure and private.
With a virtual office you’ll avoid all of the disadvantages connected with using your home address and it will give a great impression to your potential clients and customers. When they search your address on google maps, they’ll see a real office building, that already is home to dozens of real businesses, sole traders, freelancers and multinational companies.
Our Virtual Office Plan also offers mail management where you can select to have your mail forwarded to you or avail of one of our meeting rooms to open and collect your mail in privacy.
Our meeting rooms are also available for hire. This allows you to meet your clients and customers at the address anytime you like…they will never know you are not even based here! You can also take a day off from working at home by booking a hot-desk and work in a professional workspace with access to proper desks, great wifi, coffee and maybe even meet other business people!